Nowhere in our NA literature that I can find does it talk about extra strategies or precautions to stay clean during the holidays. Being in a Just for Today Program we can put emphasis on this by recalling memories, perhaps painful ones, of holidays past. Thanksgiving is fast approaching, as well as Christmas (I know I’m not ready either) and of course New Years.
We put a lot of undue stress on ourselves because of these days. I know I do and will include something at the end of this post that I was saving but feel it is relevant now.
What about Veterans Day, or Sadie Hawkins Day? Do I put this same stress on myself say perhaps during Mothers Day or Sweetest Day? Probably not but then again maybe so. On any given day I can put stress on myself. The holidays magnify this, I believe, based on expectations and feelings.
It’s odd what my thinking will conjure up on any given day about a number of things. Fleeting memories can bring about self-pity and for some denial. I am reminded that I need to remain vigilant no matter what the day.
The following is from a post that I did for our area’s upcoming December newsletter. It really speaks for itself and feel that it stands on its own.
When at the End of the Road…
December is always a mixed month for me. December 19th is my clean date. I spent Christmas in a treatment facility 4 years ago this month away from my wife and 2 kids. I held a picture of my 2 children on Santa’s lap, while crying beside a detox bed at the shambles I had made of our lives. My daughter had written a letter that I still keep that started off by saying…..”Dad I don’t know if I will get to see you for Christmas this year or not….”
I tell you this not to garner your sympathy but to remind myself of where I came from and what I am. The pain of those memories is a driving force in my recovery. The day I forget the pain I caused myself and those who love me the most, is the day I am well on my way out the door of Narcotics Anonymous.
With each year that has passed the holidays have become easier to deal with. Some of us have difficulty in dealing with holidays especially due to some of the things we have done in the past, and I fully understand. I have learned through step work and the amends process that some situations can never be made right. That I have to find some way to deal with the guilt of my past actions. I have found that in spite of how I feel, especially when my diseased thinking wants to tell me how I ruined that Christmas and that I am worthless, that it was instead the turning point in my life that makes it possible to be here this year and more years to come if I continue to do what you have taught me.
I have not found any “Christmas Magic”. What I found was the solution that had eluded me my entire life. A program for daily living that made the impossible become possible. I owe a debt of gratitude to Narcotics Anonymous that can never be fully repaid no matter how long I stay clean.
I have you to thank. My extended family of recovering brothers and sisters who showed me the way when it seemed like the darkest point in my life. I am grateful for each of you. I wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season.
Take Care……Bob D.